Top 7 trends shaping digital transformation in 2022

The pace of digital change in business shows no sign of slowing in 2022. The latest research from MuleSoft identifies 7 key digital transformation trends that will shape the future of work in 2022 and beyond.
Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer

Top 7 trends shaping digital transformation in 2020

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The latest research from MuleSoft identifies hyper-automation, hybrid experiences, distributed environments and explosion of data as some of the new challenges and opportunities facing all businesses. The research points to an accelerated digital transformation in business for 2022 and beyond with seven key trends. 

The top 7 trends shaping digital transformation in 2022 are: 

Trend 1: The future of work will be built on connected, hybrid experiences. The workplace has rapidly evolved, and with it, employee expectations -- forcing organizations to deliver digital‑first and connected experiences to drive productivity and retain talent.

Trend 2: The composable business matures.  As the pressure to innovate faster continues to rise, organizations will seek even greater agility, leading to an increased drive to composable and event‑driven architectures.

Trend 3: The rise of the business technologist.  With the increasing pressure of the digital imperative on organizations, business technologists will come to the fore as an essential partner in IT departments' efforts to accelerate innovation.

Trend 4: Hyperautomation unlocks digital value. Hyperautomation will unlock productivity, accelerate time‑to‑market, and transform employee and customer experiences.

Trend 5: Security‑by‑default is a must‑have. Security‑by‑default will become a need‑to‑have as organizations increasingly realize their applications and automations are only as secure as the composable blocks on which they are built.

Trend 6: The rise of hybrid, distributed ecosystems adds complexity.  As the digital world embraces hybrid and multi‑clouds, finding a universal way of integrating and managing these environments will become essential to successful digital transformation.

Trend 7: A single source of truth becomes key to the data‑driven business.  As digitization continues to drive an increasing amount of data, organizations will seek a single source of truth where consumers can get the right data in the right context at the right time.

Here are the top takeaways of the 7 trends shaping digital transformation in 2022 and beyond:

Future of work built on connected, hybrid experiences 

Gartner estimates that the use of collaboration platforms alone surged 44%.  between 2019 and 2021. McKinsey estimates that more than 20% of the global workforce -- although mainly those in high‑skilled roles in verticals such as finance, insurance, and IT -- could work most of the time away from the office without any impact on productivity. Automation will play a key role in a hybrid and connected work environment.  The use of low‑code techniques will be essential, having been identified by 42% of business users as critical to their ability to create better-connected employee experiences. 

Here are some stats around the use of automation to create better-connected employee experiences: 

  • 30% of organizations have implemented automation initiatives to create better-connected employee experiences 
  • 44% of organizations are currently implementing automation initiatives to create better-connected experiences
  • Top automation priorities for 2022 include: improving operational efficiency (54%), improving productivity (49%), and creating better-connected experiences (41%)
  • Top digital transformation investment priorities in 2021 to ensure teams can collaborate effectively included: process changes (66%) and technology (49%)

Use of automation initiatives to create better connected employee experiences

The composable business matures 

According to MuleSoft, the 2020s will be a period of seamless digital experiences. To make this a reality, organizations will need to think carefully about how they drive enhanced agility, which will lead to a new era of event‑driven architectures and composable businesses in 2022.

According to MuleSoft, the always‑on digital economy brings huge pressure for organizations to get things right for the end-user. According to PwC, one in three consumers will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.  One of the most effective ways for organizations to drive agility and meet these rapidly rising expectations is through becoming a composable business built on reusable APIs. These APIs can be used to turn the organization's digital capabilities and data into a series of interchangeable building blocks that employees can reuse in other ways to build their own solutions.

The future of digital commerce is a great example of a connected and composable model. Gartner defines this as "Composable Enterprise", with composable commerce as the expression of this idea applied to shopping infrastructure. Per Gartner, the composable business means creating an organization made from interchangeable building blocks. 

The idea of composable business operates on four basic principles:

  • More speed through discovery
  • Greater agility through modularity
  • Better leadership through orchestration
  • Resilience through autonomy

Reusable APIs are a great way to achieve this, which is why 96% of global organizations already use public or private APIs. The research identifies important concepts and differentiation with APIs with a focus on event-driven APIs and event-driven architectures. The research concludes that event‑driven architectures are more flexible and extensible than their RESTful counterparts, supporting the fluid, real‑time interactions that consumers expect today.

  • Four in five organizations recognize the need to make data and integration accessible to business users to increase productivity, deliver connected experiences, and drive innovation.
  • 36% of organizations say they have a mature approach to enabling non-IT users to integrate apps and data sources through APIs easily
  • 44% of organizations say they are developing plans to enable non-IT users to integrate apps and data sources through APIs

According to Gartner, the three building blocks of composable business are:

  1. Composable thinking, which keeps you from losing your creativity. Anything is composable. Combining the principles of modularity, autonomy, orchestration and discovery with composable thinking should guide your approach to conceptualizing what to compose and when.
  2. Composable business architecture ensures that your organization is built to be flexible and resilient. It's about structure and purpose. These are structural capabilities -- giving you mechanisms to use in architecting your business.
  3. Composable technologies are the tools for today and tomorrow. They are the pieces and parts and what connects them all together. The four principles are product design goals driving the features of technology that support the notions of composability.

The composable business matures 

The rise of business technologists 

According to MuleSoft, the volume of digital initiatives doubled during the pandemic, making it even more difficult for already stretched teams to keep up with the needs of the business.  In 2022, business technologists will relieve some of this pressure by working alongside IT teams to accelerate innovation. Gartner found that those organizations that successfully enable business technologists are 2.6x more likely to accelerate digital business outcomes. However, to do so, they will need the right tools at their disposal. 

By 2024, 80% of technology products and services will be built by those who are not technology professionals, according to Gartner.  Low or no‑code approaches and AI‑assisted development tools hold the key to success. Gartner found 77% of business technologists routinely use a combination of automation, integration, application development or data science and AI tools in their daily work.  Some 80% of business users agree that if data and IT capabilities were discoverable and available in packaged business capabilities (PBCs), they and their colleagues could create solutions and deliver digital projects more quickly. Over a third (36%) say they have a mature approach to enabling non‑IT users to integrate apps and data sources through APIs easily. 80% of technology products and services will be built by those who are not technology professionals by 2024. 

According to Gartner, on average, 41% of employees outside of IT -- or business technologists -- customize or build data or technology solutions. Gartner also predicts that half of all new low-code clients will come from business buyers that are outside of IT organizations by end of year 2025. 41% of organizations make an average of 41% of their internal software assets and components available for developers to reuse. 86% of organizations said if business users could securely create their own connected experiences using low or no-code, it would improve business outcomes. 


The rise of business technologist 

Hyperautomation unlocks digital value

Automation will be a fundamental driving force for the modern digital enterprise rather than being used in piecemeal projects. Hyperautomation is about scaling automation across the enterprise via the reuse of processes and the deployment of multiple, integrated technology capabilities -- such as low‑code platforms, machine learning, and robotic process automation (RPA). It's a market the analyst predicts will grow by nearly 24% from 2020 to be worth nearly $600 billion by 2022 -- as organizations look to identify and automate as many processes as they can rapidly. Per Deloitte, 93% of business leaders expect to be using RPAs by 2023. MuleSoft found that most organizations are either already using or are planning to implement such automation initiatives to realize strategic goals, such as improving productivity (96%) and operational efficiency (93%) and creating better‑connected customer experiences (93%).

2021 research shows that automation will accelerate the decentralization of businesses with a digital-first investment and new capabilities strategy. Customer service is an example line of business that will see significant hyperautomation. Given their proximity to changing customer needs, customer service provides a helpful window into how workflow automation can increase a team's flexibility, efficiency, and job satisfaction.

There is no doubt that it has been a challenging year for customer service employees. Research shows these teams have contended with a whiplash of increased case volume and complexity without commensurate increases in headcount and budget. Workflow automation, however, provides needed relief. 77% of agents say automating routine tasks allows them to focus on more complex work -- up from 69% in 2018. It is telling that, even amidst a budget crunch, 71% of service decision makers say they're accelerating automation initiatives.

One area of service automation that's getting a lot of attention is chatbots. Currently, 83% of customers expect to engage with someone immediately when contacting a company -- up from 78% in 2019. This dynamic puts pressure on already-strained teams. Unsurprisingly, we've concurrently seen chatbot adoption grow at a rapid pace


Hyperautomation trends in 2022 and beyond

Security‑by‑default is a must‑have

Security concerns have always been a roadblock on digital initiatives. Some 87% of IT and business leaders claim that security considerations are slowing down the pace of innovation, while 73% say that specific security and governance concerns have increased as their systems have become more integrated. Gartner predicts that by 2022, application programming interface (API) attacks will become the most‑frequent attack vector, causing data breaches for enterprise web applications. According to Forrester, 21% of security decision‑makers plan to prioritize building security into development processes. Many more will follow suit over the coming years as the era of the business technologist continues to gather pace. 


Security requirements can slow down pace of digital transformation 

The rise of hybrid, distributed ecosystems adds complexity

IT and business leaders agree that the ability to create seamless digital experiences for both employees and customers is key to the success of modern organizations.  In 2022, universal API management will come to the fore as organizations seek answers to this question. Cloud solutions enabled many organizations to navigate the challenges the pandemic created. However, they have also drastically increased the complexity of modern digital ecosystems. Today, 92% of enterprises have a multi‑cloud strategy, while 82% have a hybrid cloud set‑up. According to Deloitte, virtually all (97%) IT managers are planning to take a best‑of‑breed approach by distributing workloads across two or more clouds to boost resilience and support regulatory requirements.


The rise of hybrid, distributed ecosystems add digital transformation complexity 

A single source of truth becomes key to the data‑driven business 

The world is witnessing a data explosion. In 2020 alone, over 64 zettabytes (ZB) were created, and this volume is expected to grow at a rate of 23% up to 2025, according to IDC. Yet, things aren't getting any easier for organizations looking to integrate, analyze, and act on this data. IT complexity, proprietary systems, and a lack of strategic direction all provide their own challenges. 

To be a successful data‑driven organization in 2022, organizations must break down silos across the enterprise to create a single source of truth. Business leaders can only look to machine learning and data analytics to make sense of all their data for enhanced decision-making.

What does it mean to be a truly data‑driven business? It's all about using the insights derived from AI‑powered analytics to transform business processes. Ultimately, the aim is to improve business outcomes, by driving greater revenues and success. According to Accenture, true data‑driven organizations experience annual growth of over 30%. In addition, 81% of businesses still don't have a solid data strategy to maximize the full potential of their data, and a similar number don't have the right platform in place to support their goals.  API‑led connectivity is increasingly recognized as the best strategy for achieving the required level of connectivity. Indeed, API‑led connectivity can result in 3x faster project delivery, on average, and a 63% reduction in maintenance costs.


A single source of truth becomes key to data-driven business 

The trends shaping digital transformation in 2022 include hyperautomation, hybrid experiences, distributed environments, and an explosion of data. MuleSoft research of these trends concludes with the following recommendation to IT and business leaders with respect to improved collaboration and execution velocity: 

  1. Empower IT teams to deliver composable services, API products, and bots at scale for the entire organization.
  2. Empower business teams to automate integrations to common systems without code by leveraging IT's reusable assets, support, and governance.
  3. Automate repetitive and manual tasks with reusable and composable bots that can intelligently process documents, enter data, or take action on the user's behalf, all without code.

To learn more about the MuleSoft report on the 7 trends shaping digital transformation in 2022, you can visit here

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